British Columbia declares state of emergency because of floods

By: Thomas I. Likness
EBC News Service

(Eagle News) — The western Canadian province of British Columbia has declared a state of emergency as the province tries to recover from torrential rains earlier this week that caused flooding and mudslides.

“This provincial declaration of emergency will ensure the transport of goods, and essential and emergency services,” Premier John Horgan said Wednesday. “Thank you to everyone for doing what you can to stay safe and to help one another as we work through this catastrophic time.”

So far, mudlsides have claimed one life and Horgan expects more bad news.

“We expect to confirm even more fatalities in the coming days,” he said.

Nearly 18,000 people in several communities have been forced from their homes because of floodwaters.

The flooding and mudslides have also closed all major highways that connect Vancouver to the neighboring province of Alberta.

Rail access has also been shut down because of the floods.

Do not hoard

And that has created problems trying to get goods out of Vancouver’s port — the fourth busiest in North America.

Horgan says the state of emergency will allow the province to impose travel restriction to ensure transportation of essential goods and medical and emergency services are able to reach the communities that need them.

The premier also had a reminder for people who are thinking of stocking up in anticipation of looming shortages.

“Please do not hoard items,” he said. “What you need, your neighbors need as well.”

Horgan says he is confident supply chains can be restored in a quick and orderly manner.

More military aid

Military help for the province is being beefed up.

“In response to extreme flooding across Southern BC, we have approved the deployment of @CanadianForces air support personnel to assist with evacuation efforts, support supply chain routes and protect residents against floods and landslides,” federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair tweeted Wednesday.

The storms which began Sunday and continued to Monday dumped more than 250 millimeters of rain on some area — the amount the region normally receives in a month.
(Eagle News Service)